How Stepping Aside Can Help You Win in Business

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Monday, March 14th, 2016
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Business owners (and ambitious employees) are a driven breed who are often guilty of working long hours often under pressure.

Even though this is usually necessary for business success, in prolonged circumstances, it can lead to poor business performance. Stepping aside in the right way can boost performance.

Being in business can mean facing a lot of challenges, including long hours, intense workloads, dealing with bills which can’t be paid on time, irregular income, keeping your cool while dealing with various work dramas, and so on. You need to face these things while staying motivated, enthusiastic, focused, on track, and setting an example as a leader.

Working too hard can have negative effects on your health, social life and family life. Fear, often of loss of reputation or money, can overwhelm the optimistic parts of our personalities and make us freeze or lure us into bad decisions. Stress often occurs as a result of poor time management, with too many things needing to be done and not enough time, resulting in a frantic juggling of things to do. We can handle these negative aspects of business life in short bursts, but if they are a frequent part of your working life, you need to change.

The negative aspects of business life can make you physically and mentally unwell and extinguish your passion. When that happens, you will be unhappy. Likewise, business leadership never stops and can’t be delegated, and when it ceases to be a challenge and becomes a burden, responsibilities will be shirked and the business will lose its way.

Maybe you need to get yourself out of the way. Step aside!

This means doing business with detachment or emotional distance, like looking down from above. Army generals can’t plan the battle while they are in the trenches. You can drown in the daily workings of business.

Here are some things that can help give you some distance:

  • Delegate
  • Use your experts or outsourced professionals
  • Listen to outside advisors who likely can see what you can’t
  • Have a mentor to talk about the big issues and ideas
  • Share the load with your business partners (partners means partners after all)
  • Create systems (essential for conducting business effectively and winning regular breathing space)
  • Be a questioner and not the provider of all the answers (relieve the stress by getting others to do the thinking)
  • Practice deductive reasoning (subjective, emotional or ‘I have a feeling’ decision-making can both trick and enslave you into being always off course)

You still need to follow your passion and work toward your goals, but operate with a detached mindset. Try to remove yourself from the grind (it’s called a grind for a reason) to see things from a distance, more objectively with more clarity, rather than being tainted by personal feelings and emotions. Participating too much, too closely, restricts higher strategic faculties, and as a result, opportunities can be missed and leadership can become ineffective.

You can’t afford to feel bad when you experience something negative in business; you need to learn from the experience and stay focused on the big issues. You need to be somewhat ruthless – not in the mean nasty sense, but in the sense of being disciplined toward goals, which can sometimes lead to unpopular decision-making. It can be a noisy, chaotic world, and clear objective thinking is essential.

A good example that we all have seen is with great athletes. They always seem so calm even when the going gets tough. This detachment and forbidding of emotional decision-making seemingly gives them more time and be more relaxed, and better strategic playmaking is the result. Stand aside from yourself so you have more time and become more relaxed. This will boost your business life.

There is no sense in being in business if all it produces is a paycheck and unhappiness. The effort and responsibility is just too great and it’s likely not worth it. You need to spare a thought for yourself.

Beyond work-orientated solutions, there are the obvious things to do to improve your work/life balance, such as hobbies, doing volunteer work, spending more time with family, socializing with people who are not in your industry, going to the movies, or simply taking time out in nature. Whatever it is that works for you, you need to be able to let go. If all that goes into your head are spreadsheets and sales reports, you will go a little mad.

Get the work environment working for you so you have more time to work on strategies and big picture issues, then just get out regularly and have a laugh.  Your business is your livelihood, so make it lively by sorting it out, staying fit, happy and mentally sharp, and stepping aside.

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